We had a good feeling going into this year’s edition of Money 20/20. But when it rained unexpectedly on day 2, we became certain it was going to be great.
And no, we’re not saying this because we’re misanthropic gits who like grey weather…
A few weeks back we’d decided to make branded umbrellas to give out at the event. Not because we’re secretly developing an uncannily accurate weather app (that would be something, wouldn’t it?). But because, to our minds, it’s the perfect hedging analogy. Just as an umbrella keeps you dry when you’re caught out in the rain, hedging protects you when the forex markets take an unfavourable turn.
So, once it got pouring, it felt like the hedging gods were sending us a message.
People flocked to our stand for the free umbrellas. And then, they stayed to chat.
We had lots of interesting conversations, learned loads about the fintech industry’s current direction of travel, and made plenty of new friends.
But, most importantly, we had lots of opportunities to show off X-Hedge — our powerful, user-friendly hedging platform — and we couldn’t be more chuffed with how well it was received.
In search of stability
Walking into the RAI centre in Amsterdam’s Southern district on 7 June — the first day of the event — two things were immediately clear to us.
First, the industry is maturing.
And, second, we were way overdressed — our besuited selves stood out like sore thumbs in the sea of jeans-and-trainer-clad people.
But we digress.
Where, typically, fintech events tend to focus on growth and innovation, this year’s Money 20/20 was all about how the industry can make better use of already established technologies.
Compliance featured prominently. And so did infrastructure. There were a large number of KYC vendors, card issuing technology providers, and banking-as-a-service players exhibiting in the stalls.
But infrastructure was also one of the key themes of the event, with several discussions centring on how the industry could serve customers better by developing common technical standards and collaborating more closely.
As the organisers themselves put it when they set out the event agenda:
‘[C]ompetitiveness … doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game for companies. The growth and opportunities will come from dismantling walled gardens we are used to building and embracing the principle of interoperability by design.‘
We’re entering a consolidation phase
In our view, the discussion about the role cooperation, common standards, and greater interoperability should have moving forward couldn’t have come at a better time.
There were several instances of high-profile companies joining forces during 2021. Visa, for example, bought out open banking platform Tink, a move which Visa Europe CEO Charlotte Hogg professed to be ‘honestly ecstatic about‘ during a panel discussion on the first day of the event.
Given the current economic climate — this will likely have an impact on the availability and extent of venture capital funding — and the abundance of vendors that, though highly specialised, are solving similar issues, it seems inevitable that there will be more consolidation over the next few months and years.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
For one, consolidation is a natural part of any marketplace’s evolution and further proof that the fintech industry is stabilising and coming into its own.
More to the point, when specialists join forces and pool their resources, they can start solving more complex problems than they would be able to address on their own.
And they can do so more efficiently and effectively, to customers’ benefit.
Taking hedging mainstream with the power of partnerships
As it happens, there’s also a third reason we feel strongly about the importance of collaboration: it serves our mission to make hedging as mundane as buying insurance before you jet off abroad, or carrying an umbrella in case it starts chucking down.
Hedging has no shortage of real-world applications.
It can help prevent exchange rate fluctuations from wiping out your profit margin if you rely on foreign suppliers or sell goods or services to clients overseas, of course.
But there are also use cases you might not have considered, like keeping salary costs in check if you have employees based abroad, preventing relocation costs from spiralling out of control, or offering foreign ecommerce customers a fairer exchange rate.
The flipside is that hedging is operationally complex. It requires in-depth market knowledge, carefully considered risk-management procedures, and robust compliance.
And that’s why partnerships are critical.
Over the past year, we’ve worked hard to build X-Hedge into a platform that makes it easier to hedge*, whether they’re a huge multinational or an individual. So it was great to be able to show how it works at a major event where the importance of cooperation was not only acknowledged, but a central theme.
X Hedge makes it possible for our clients to manage their foreign exchange risk in an accessible, user-friendly, and cost-effective way instantly, at the point of need.
More importantly, they can do so regardless of which niche or industry they operate in.
Whether you’re a specialist fintech, a traditional financial services company, or a non-financial brand such as a relocation agent or event organiser, X-Hedge puts hedging at your fingertips and helps you deliver a more complete service to your customers.
Here’s to a bigger and better Money 20/20 in 2023
So there you have it: our three days at Money 20/20 in Amsterdam.
It was exciting, inspiring, and instructive.
But, most of all, it was extremely satisfying to finally have a physical product we could show people, and for it to be received so well.
It’s noses back to the grindstone for us until next year.
But, in the meantime, if you want to enhance your product or service and add a healthy new revenue stream to your business, we’d love to chat.
*Subject to status, terms and conditions. Trading (leveraged) financial instruments carries a high degree of risk to your capital. These products are not intended for everyone and expose you to significant loss of capital. You should consult independent financial advice to ascertain the appropriateness of these financial products to your personal circumstances and financial status. You could lose more than your account balance by trading leveraged financial instruments.